Tesla wins lawsuit over “damaging sabotage” whistleblower

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Words: Matthew Hansen
21 Sep 2020

After a two-year process, Tesla has won its lawsuit against a former employee whistleblower, who leaked a story to the press in 2018.

The employee, Martin Tripp, shared information about Tesla’s GigaFactory in Nevada with American publication Business Insider. The information prompted many to question how wasteful and environmentally friendly the factory was.

“For every 2,500 battery packs and driving units that leave the Gigafactory, an additional 1,000 pieces of ‘nonconforming material’ is created. Half of that will be reworked and put into other car parts. The other half becomes scrap,” said the Business Insider story based on Tripp’s information.

Tesla responded to the accusation of wastefulness at the time by saying it was “something we planned for” and that high waste numbers are “a normal part of a production ramp [up].”

“I was dismayed to learn this weekend about a Tesla employee who had conducted quite extensive and damaging sabotage to our operations,” added Tesla CEO Elon Musk in a company-wide memo sent out at the time.

“The full extent of his actions are not yet clear, but what he has admitted to so far is pretty bad. His stated motivation is that he wanted a promotion that he did not receive. In light of these actions, not promoting him was definitely the right move.

“However, there may be considerably more to this situation than meets the eye, so the investigation will continue in depth this week. We need to figure out if he was acting alone or with others at Tesla and if he was working with any outside organisations.”

As per Tesla’s request, the details of the lawsuit’s ultimate findings have been sealed. It’s been reported that Tripp was found to have hacked the company’s operating system, taking multiple gigabytes of data and distributing it to third parties, and making false statements to the media.


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